Music articles excerpts:
Nomad by Fate – on the Road with Chuck Ragan
Next week, Chuck Ragan hits the road opening for Social Distortion, playing venues like the House of Blues and ending with three sold out shows at the 1300-seat Ogden Theatre in Denver. But tonight is another story. Tonight, Ragan isn’t just playing a small dive bar in San Antonio, but the basement of a dive bar in San Antonio.
I walk right in the unattended side door and go downstairs with nary a bouncer in sight. Ragan and his band, consisting of Jon Gaunt, fiddle, and Joe Ginsberg, upright bass, are sound checking in the partial basement of Korova, with a few random stained couches, a tiny bar and gear for five acts piled to one side of the room. No stage, no stage lights, no house sound system, no one watching except the guy whose opening band has their own sound system and is helping Ragan sound check on it. And now me, of course. I try to settle onto one of the couches, but a couple of burly staff apologize and ask me to move, because they are taking the two big couches upstairs. I sit on a once-white loveseat and listen to Ragan playing under one dingy fluorescent light. I wasn’t sure it was him at first, because the bearded man before me with a hat pulled low on his head looks nothing like the clean-cut, clean-shaven photos on his site, but the raspy voice is unmistakable. When they wrap sound check and Ragan approaches me, even I have to ask, “Are you playing here or is this the green room”?
It ain’t the green room.
Interview With Americana Grammy-Nominee Linda Chorney
While music awards tend to bring out differences in opinion amongst music lovers every year, this year’s Grammy nominations sparked something of a firestorm in one category, and probably not in one you might expect. In fact, probably not a category you even knew was on the ballot.
When the 2011 Grammy nominations were announced for the Americana music category, there was a name in there that for all practical purposes, no one in the established Americana community recognized. Not only did it inspire a heated (and an increasingly nasty) debate, but a new nickname for the artist herself — “Who the [expletive] is Linda Chorney?”
For the artist formerly known simply as Linda Chorney, 2011 has been quite a rollercoaster ride. After 30 years of paying her dues as a musician, she got the nod many artists dream of — the Grammy nomination. Sounds like something to celebrate, right? A real “independent unknown hits the big-time,” feel-good kinda story that inspires everyone.
Not so fast.
Interview with Morgan Lander of Kittie
When people think of female bands, especially the rare metal bands, they often want to stereotype them as wild women or chain smoking, hard drinking divas. With literally half her life spent in the world of rock and roll, Morgan Lander of Kittie grew up on a stage, and hasn’t let fame and the pitfalls of excess sway her from her path. Or turn her into a prima donna. She’s soft-spoken and down to earth, with a “one of the guys” sensibility and an appreciation for how blessed she has been to have found success so early, no matter how trying life can be squeezed into a van with her comrades for miles on end.
Koffin Kats Release ‘Our Way and the Highway’
Not only do they have a new label, but the Detroit-based band has gone through a bit of a makeover, as well, or perhaps what could be better described as an evolution into more of a genre-less, down and dirty rock and roll band. While not really anything premeditated, the natural progression was likely influenced by recording their first full length album with guitarist “EZ Ian” Jarrell.
American Music Awards Degenerate into J-Lo and Fiat Infomercial
And yes, folks, Lopez was lip-synching a track recorded for the performance, despite a few “impromptu” references to the AMAs to seem live. How can I tell? Despite shaking her badonkadonk all over the place like the Tasmanian Devil of T&A, Lopez’s vocals never wavered or fluctuated one iota to catch her breath in the performance, till suddenly, at the end after the song, the mike was now on and you could hear her panting heavily.
I cry foul.
Social Distortion Plays Two Shows at Fillmore
When Social Distortion took the stage for the first of two shows here in Denver at the Fillmore October 15, Ness didn’t do the whole man-in-black or greaser image one has come to expect from this band who has always played a sort of rockabilly-influenced punk. Most of his tattoos were covered, and the hair on his slightly receding hairline just slicked back. In his crisp white shirt, suspenders, and loose cut pants, he almost looked like a carney from the 30s depression era in his simplicity.
The real punks, the ones who stand the test of time, don’t have to dress the part or show off heavy tattoos – it goes way beyond skin deep for Ness and the rest of Social Distortion. And they proved that once again before a packed house.
Psychobilly Draws from the Rocking ’50s and Punk ’70s for a Whole New Monster
Psychobilly has long been the red-headed stepchild of rock and roll – with its roots in ’70s punk and ’50s rockabilly, but much cheekier than its parental counterparts, it has lurked on the perimeter of mainstream music. With its retro hot rod and leather jacket sensibility, and its love of all things horror, it’s the “Night of the Living Dead” of modern music. Or, you could say, it’s like your parents’ Halloween. Or punk with an upright bass. Call it what you will, but it’s a genre that hasn’t been taken too seriously, even by those who play it and listen to it. And quite unfairly, one could argue.